Job-seeking veterans get help developing ‘personal brand’

By Anna-Lysa Gayle, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Veterans are getting a helping hand in developing their “personal brand” and hopefully raising their chances for employment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will distribute Personal Branding guides to veterans as part of a new initiative to help more veterans secure civilian jobs. The initiative offers tips for vets to compete against other job-seekers. Many tools have already been placed at their disposal so that they have everything they need to request and get employment, going so far as to provide access to a service called resume builder so that they can have an excellent written resume that should help them get a foot in the door. Still, we are listening to their feedback and making sure that we take it into account as the program continues to develop.

“You need to talk about your military experience in terms that employers will understand, and not just about your military occupation and not just about the intangibles. Talk about your leadership experience, talk about the fact that you work well in team, talk about your incredible work ethic,” said Kevin Schmiegel, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The new effort was announced at a job fair hosted at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, and is part of the chamber’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program launched last year. Job-seekers at the fair on Monday included veterans, military spouses and current Marines hoping to line up employment before the end of their duty.

The initiative could result in approximately 10% to 20% of veterans at the job getting hired by the 62 companies registered, according to Bryan Goettel, director of communications of the Hiring Our Heroes program.

“We got employers along with the veterans in the same room, and that’s a good start,” said former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote the new initiative. Meyer already has a calling card of note, he was the first living Marine to receive a Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

“You get someone who is not in the military and I tell you ‘I’m a sniper’ and … what do you automatically think? You automatically think you should shoot a gun. Well, that’s only like 10% of the job. I’ve been to coach’s course, I learned how to teach, I learned how to use PowerPoint. I’ve been to sniper school, which briefs using PowerPoint,” said Meyer.

He believes his skills can easily translate to the civilian workforce. He currently is a construction worker, a speaker and the author of the book, “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War.”

Andria Johnson served in the Navy for 20 years, and since retiring has faced a tough time finding a job in her field. She said the new iniative could help her present her skills in a more appealing way to employers. Johnson said while in the Navy she was a multimedia manager and a recruiter

“It will help in really helping me to not only develop and realize some of the skills that I have already, but actually kind of put a footprint out there and help with networking,” said Johnson.

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